First-Time Domestic Violence Offenses in Stamford
Even if you have never been convicted of domestic violence before or have no prior criminal record at all, a conviction for even a first offense of domestic violence can have dire consequences for both your life at home and your personal freedom.
Fortunately, if you are dealing with a first-time domestic violence offense in Stamford, speak to a knowledgeable domestic violence lawyer about the options available to you.
Can I Get a First-Time Charge Dropped Through the FVEP?
While the domestic violence court system in Connecticut is not guaranteed to be lenient on a defendant just because they have never been convicted of such an offense before, it does allow for many first-time offenders to get their charges dropped by completing the Family Violence Education Program (FVEP). To be eligible to apply for admission to this program, a defendant in Stamford must meet all the following criteria:
- They have never been convicted of a domestic violence offense in Connecticut before
- The offense they are charged with is neither a felony of Class C or higher, nor an unclassified felony that could be punished by more than 10 years in prison
- They have never participated in the FVEP program before
- They have never participated in the Accelerated Rehabilitation Program before
Applying for this program has a $100 application fee, and applicants must attend a hearing and have their petition approved by the judge overseeing their case before they can participate in the FVEP. Completing the program requires the payment of an addition $300 fee and attendance at least nine consecutive weekly classes, absence from any of which can result in a defendant being removed from the program.
Following successful participation in the FVEP, a first-time domestic violence offender in Stamford should be able to have their charge dropped sometime between six months and two years after their initial application hearing. A conversation with a domestic violence attorney could clarify whether pursuing this alternative to a criminal conviction is a good option for a particular defendant.
What Are the Potential Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction?
If a domestic violence charge is not dropped or dismissed, the consequences that could result from a conviction vary wildly depending on the circumstances. For example, a person arrested for domestic violence disorderly conduct—a Class C misdemeanor under Connecticut General Statutes §53a-182—may face only a $500 fine and a maximum of three months in jail following a conviction. Conversely, a Class D felony like second-degree strangulation may be punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
A defendant may face other consequences outside of criminal court as well. For instance, virtually everyone arrested on suspicion of domestic violence will be subject to a temporary protective order, which may require them to move out of their home briefly and/or cut all contact with the protected party. In addition, first-time domestic violence offenders in Stamford may be investigated by the Department of Children and Families if the court thinks their conduct poses a threat to minor children in their household.
Talk to a Stamford Attorney About Fighting a First-Time Domestic Violence Charge
If you were charged with domestic violence, an experienced attorney could help your case. To find out how a legal professional could help with your first-time domestic violence offense in Stamford, call today. Click here to head over to Avvo.com and read why hundreds of clients have left us 5-star reviews.